When your “new-injury” total matches your run total, it can’t be framed as a great day. As Bradley watched and Crosby left, the rest played a game in which 250 pitches were overshadowed by one—a hanging Jay Witasick slider that Vlad Guerrero “sent in the air” to the left-center field rocks.
What distinguishes pitchers like Tom Glavine and Kenny Rogers (besides having 200-300 more wins than Jay Witasick) is that they never give in, they always know when they have a base open, and they understand that the base doesn’t have to be first base. Mike Scioscia played it right not having Orlando Cabrera bunt in the 7th inning, because the A’s would have walked Vlad. When you’re pitching to Vlad with runners at first and second and one out, you have to remember that you have a base open. Third base. I wasn’t wild about the A’s chances with Jay Marshall facing Garrett Anderson with the bases loaded and one out, but I’m less wild about giving into Guerrero. You could say it was simply a physical mistake, hanging a slider. But there’s also missing out of the strike zone and missing in the strike zone, and Vladdy just doesn’t let you get away with many mistakes of the latter variety.
In the final analysis, though I didn’t think Kennedy pitched quite as well as his stats, you can’t argue with 6 innings of 2 run, shoulda-been-one-run ball. You have to like what Jay Marshall is showing, and you have to think that if Gaudin, Kennedy, and Marshall pitch anything like they did over the last 30 hours, the A’s are going to be in good shape. You have to like how exhausted Speier, Shields, and K-Rod are, and you have to like how the A’s battle right down to the final strike. And you have to wonder who’s going to be injured next.